A few years back, a massive BDS campaign was mounted to close down the SodaStream factory in Mishor Adumim in Judea not far from Maale Adumim, an area sometimes called part of the West Bank.
Despite the factory that makes carbonated drinks employing seven hundred Palestinian Arabs who worked alongside, and sometimes over, their Jewish co-workers, this island of cooperation and progress was seen as an abomination by the anti-peace BDS Movement and the anti-normalization leaders of the Palestinian Authority.
And so they conducted a loud and expensive propaganda and incitement campaign against SodaStream.
SodaStream’s CEO, Daniel Birnbaum, had ambitions to enlarge his factory to employ even more Palestinians. His Palestinian workers received salaries in advance of normal Palestinian wages. They also enjoyed Israeli social welfare benefits, and several earned promotions as supervisors, a promotion that came with wage improvements.
To BDS and the corrupt PA, this was a sin, a crime that had to be prevented.
Birnbaum saw that it would not be possible to advance his ambitious business plan in Mishor Adumim, so he moved his factory to the Negev and began to employ Jews from Beer Sheba and the local Bedouin.
SodaStream grew. Their products increased in popularity, and the carbonated drink-maker was acquired by PepsiCo for a figure of $3.2 billion.
As part of this windfall, Birnbaum gave handsome bonuses to his workers.
The losers in this story are the Palestinian workers who went from being proud and well-paid participants in the SodaStream success to dire unemployment thanks to the exerted efforts of BDS activists aided and abetted by the Palestinian Authority.
They must have watched in envy and sadness as SodaStream spent ninety million shekels to expand its Negev factory and took on more employees.
In July, Ramon Luis Laguarta, the chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, visited Israel and reported that SodaStream was recording faster growth than expected since its acquisition by Pepsi.
To add acid into the wounds inflicted on the unemployed Palestinian workers by BDS, SodaStream employees will share approximately $23.5 million in cash and equity awards as a result of the improved performance. This is in addition to the $12.5 million for employees not participating in SodaStream’s equity plans.
Palestinian workers were denied this financial windfall by the BDS Movement who considered the transfer of SodaStream as a success.
BDS creates nothing. It does nothing to advance peace.
BDS destroys Palestinian lives and hopes.
Barry Shaw in the International Public Diplomacy Director at the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies. Author of ‘BDS for IDIOTS.’